Banded Palm Civet - Rare Carnivore of the Tropical Forest

Banded palm civetThe banded palm civet (Hemigalus derbyanus) appears to be a strange-looking cat but is more closely related to the mongoose. There are over 20 species of civets, most in Asia and Africa. The banded palm civet lives in Borneo, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma. They are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature because banded palm civets need to live in forests near water. Unfortunately, these forests are being cut down quickly to make lucrative palm oil plantations.

Banded palm civets also do not breed well in captivity. Despite the best efforts of biologists, hardly anything is known about the mating behavior of banded palm civets so zoos are at a loss as to help their banded palm civets breed. Scientists are not even sure when females come into season and will allow a male to get close without attacking him. Banded palm civets are also prey for leopards, tigers, crocodiles, large snakes and people.

Physical Description

Civets have long, slim bodies with short legs and a long tail. They have an elongated feline face with large dark eyes and small ears. The facial fur is a dark brown to black. The body fur is a yellowish-grey with thick dark stripes along the back, sides and around the tail. These thick stripes help the banded palm civet to blend in with the
11 to 20.87 inches (46 to 53 centimeters.) Tails grow anywhere from 9.84 to 14.96 inches. (25 to 38 centimeters) long. Adults vary in weight from 3 to 10 pounds (1.4 to 4.5 kilograms.) Adults grow 40 triangular-shaped teeth, which are excellent for killing prey and slicing up meat into bite-sized chunks. Their semi-retractable claws are long to help dig burrows in the ground and to climb trees.

Life Cycle and Behavior

Not much is known about the life of wild banded palm civets due to their shyness and their nocturnal nature. It is known that they sleep during the day underground or in trees and hunt at night. They communicate with other banded palm civets with cries and through expelling a powerful musk from glands underneath the tail. Both males and females hold territories and only get together for breeding.

Females raise the young without any help from the males. Gestation lasts anywhere from 34 to 64 days. Females only have one or two babies with each litter. The mother nurses her babies for about 70 days and teaches them to hunt small rodents, frogs, lizards, worms and the occasional flower or fruit. Banded palm civets tend to seize prey in their teeth and shake it to death. With luck, a banded palm civet can live up to 13 years.

Picture by Mariomassone, licensed under GFDL 1.2

Keywords: paw , retractable claw , tail , brown , black , stripe , white

The Banded palm civet is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Some facts about the
Banded palm civet

Adult weight : 2.4 kg (5.28 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 16 years

Weaning : 71 days

Litter size : 2

Weight at birth : 0.125 kg (0.275 lbs)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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